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Engineered stone ban closer after federal support

Workplace Minister Tony Burke said a national approach would be taken to banning engineered stone.

Workplace Minister Tony Burke said a national approach would be taken to banning engineered stone. Photo: AAP

The federal government will work with states and territories to implement a national ban on engineered stone products to protect workers from developing deadly lung diseases.

Safe Work Australia released a report into engineered stone benchtops in October, which recommended a complete ban on the product to stop deaths from silicosis.

Ahead of a meeting of work health and safety ministers next week where the implementation of the ban will be discussed, federal Workplace Minister Tony Burke said a national approach would be taken.

He said while the powers for an engineered stone ban mostly lay with states and territories, the federal government would approach it similarly.

“The federal government will be approaching this in the same way, of working through in a collaborative, coordinated way how we can deliver on that recommendation for a ban,” he told parliament on Thursday.

“We need improved regulation of exposure to silica dust across all industries because workers in other industries are suffering as well.”

Work on endorsing an engineered stone ban will be carried out by workplace ministers early next year.

The comments on the looming engineered benchtop ban came during speeches in parliament marking 20 years since a federal ban on asbestos came into effect.

Mr Burke said crucial workplace safety lessons should be learnt from the asbestos issue to ensure they were not repeated in terms of engineered stone.

“As our experience with asbestos is showing, many lives depend on the work we do today.”

– AAP

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